Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Homemade Chicken Stock

Submitted by a Polyface Patron

I just received your email update asking for recipes and thought I'd post one of my favorites during the summer months.

We used to buy cut up chicken pieces from Polyface until I realized the ease and multiple uses of buying your whole chicken instead. The broth/stock made from the carcass is one of the best health boosters I have ever found! We call it "liquid gold" around our house since the beautiful yellow-colored broth has so many beneficial healing properties. I make a big batch and freeze it. Besides using it in other recipes, I reheat it and drink several mugs of it day or two before I depart on a trip and once I get home to prevent colds and other illnesses I used to pick up on planes. I’ll paste a quick recipe at the end, it really only takes about 15 minutes to get it going and then straining it at the end. I can't imagine how much I've saved by not having to buy broth for recipes - and the flavor is so much richer.

Homemade Chicken Stock
(Adapted from Zuni Cafe Cookbook)

1 whole organic chicken
1 large yellow onion, ends discarded, washed and quartered
2 stalks celery, leaves removed and chopped into 2-inch pieces
2 carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Remove the chicken breasts from the raw bird, and a set of legs and thighs if you want to use them for later, and refrigerate to use in another recipe of your choice. Add the remaining chicken carcass to a large stock pot. Fill with cold water until the bird is covered by no more than about an inch of water.

Bring to just barely a simmer around 190 degrees and skim the foam. Stir the chicken under once—just to allow the last of the foam to rise—reduce the heat, and skim the foam carefully, taking care to leave behind any bright yellow fat that may be starting to appear on the surface.

Add the vegetables and salt and stir them under. Bring back to a gentle simmer and adjust the heat to maintain it (190-200 degrees). Don’t cover the pot. The most important part of stock making is to avoid agitating it, which will affect the clarity because the fats, proteins, and impurities will emulsify into the liquid. In a stock pot with the cover off, you simmer it slowly to maintain a steady heat, never stirring it, never ever letting it come to a boil. Let it do its thing for at least four hours.

When ready to store, strain the stock with cheesecloth and then cool over an ice bath before placing in the refrigerator. The next day remove the layer of fat on the top (optional step). For freezing, use odorless plastic containers with tight-fitting lids that allow room for expansion as ice crystals form. Thaw frozen stock slowly in the refrigerator, or slide from the storage vessel into a pot and melt over low heat. I like to reheat it and drink it out of a mug if I feel an illness coming on – works wonders.

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